Undefeated Australian heavyweight Justis Huni is learning how to fight like Mike Tyson in a bid to bring increased “viciousness” to his next heavyweight showdown against New Zealander Kiki Luetele.
Fox Sports Australia can reveal Huni (6-0) will look to further enhance his profile as one of the nation’s most exciting young fighters when he faces Luetele at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena on November 4.
As part of preparations, the 23-year-old Queenslander is currently training in Los Angeles with Justin Fortune – the retired Aussie slugger who once fought Britain’s Lennox Lewis, spent almost 20 years as strength and conditioning coach for boxing megastar Manny Pacquiao and, for a time, was the trainer for that fella once hailed Baddest Man on the Planet.
Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
While Huni has worked with Fortune previously, the Brisbane product says this latest stint in Hollywood sees him focused on recreating the “explosiveness” that became such a signature of Tyson’s championship reign.
While Huni remains undefeated in six professional fights – and has won four of those by TKO – he is yet to ink a knockout among his growing resume of victims.
As a result, the breakout heavyweight is now working closely with Fortune – and sparring WBC contender Frank Sanchez — in a bid to bring some of that Tyson style to his own game.
NO CHANCE: Gal takes brutal swipe at Lodge’s bid for $1 million charity fight
AND STILL! Canelo overwhelms sluggish, slow GGG as epic trilogy finally settled
The fighter, who will train out of the Fortune Gym for a month, also plans to have the coach in his corner for the showdown with Luetele (8-1-2).
Huni said Fortune was helping “develop more power into my punches” while also providing the type of ring IQ learned from his own career and training the likes of Pacquiao, James Toney and Tyson.
“I’ve always idolised Mike Tyson and his style,” Huni said this week from his LA base. “Especially that viciousness when he gets into that ring.
“So my old man and I, we’re now working on getting that style down pat for me.
“Just the explosiveness.
“That, and working on the inside with short, sharp punches.
“Bringing a lot of power.
“In previous fights I’ve boxed, stayed long, stayed on the outside. Fought on the inside a little bit here and there, but now I’m looking how to really fight in close and bring as much power as I can while in there.
“I think that’s what will catch these bigger guys off guard.
“My speed and explosiveness is going to surprise a lot of heavyweights.”
Despite standing at 193cm, Huni is still shorter than most of the world’s top heavyweights.
“Guys like Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, I’m a shorter heavyweight compared to all of them,” he said. “Which is what Mike Tyson was, too.”
Asked what he was working on specifically with Fortune, Huni continued: “I’m looking to develop more power into my punches.
“Also some little tricks.
“Bringing my ring IQ up with tricks Justin has learned throughout his own career and by facing, and training, other world class fighters.”
Asked about Luetele, and if he expects the Kiwi to goad him about his lack of knockouts during the fight build up, Huni laughed: “All my past opponents have said that.
“They say I don’t have a highlight reel. Or that fight fans only want to see knockouts.
“But all I care about is making it all the way to a world title shot, and bringing it all back to Australia.”
Huni also pointed out that Ukrainian heavyweight champ Oleksandr Usyk has now won both his most recent title showdowns against Anthony Joshua via decision.
“Usyk has now twice beat Anthony Joshua, who has all the knockout power in the world,” Huni said.
“But look what happened. Usyk made him look silly with his boxing skills.
“Those fights have been amazing. And shown in the heavyweight division, it’s not just all about power.
“Although that power is also something I’m working on now, you never stop learning … so people will just have to wait and see. ”